shutterstock_141195013 American physicians have had it.  We are retiring early, cutting back, changing careers, and moping in to work in astounding numbers.  The typical pep talks, whether given aloud by medical directors and administrators or consisting of internal dialog occurring in the physician’s mind, are not working anymore.  “You have it better than most people.”  “You are still making good money.”  “Your ...

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Thomas Hobbes described life as pitifully “nasty, brutish, and short.” Thanks to the free market and the state, life is no longer a Hobbesian nightmare. But death has become nasty, brutish, and long. Surgeon and writer, Atul Gawande, explores the medicalization of aging and death in Being Mortal. Gawande points to a glaring deficiency in medical education. Taught to save lives and fight death, doctors don’t bow out gracefully and say enough ...

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CryingDoctor-640x480 Outside of a Southern California hospital, an ER doctor is crouched down against a concrete wall grieving the loss of his 19-year-old patient. A paramedic snaps a photo of the tender scene. His coworker, a close friend of the doctor, posts the photo (with permission) online. Minutes after the photograph, the doctor returns to work “holding his head high.” Thousands of people have ...

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shutterstock_86451016 In mid-January, a patient called me from her pharmacy, frantic. Her asthma inhalers came to $168 -- a sum that she hadn’t been prepared for. But she can’t live without those inhalers, so she withdrew cash from her meager savings account and skipped her blood pressure pills for that month. This is such a familiar story by now that it hardly makes ...

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(with a hat tip to “Who’s On First?”) acp new logoA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. (Scene is the back office of a small primary care clinic. Lou is sitting at his workstation, looking at a computer screen. Bud walks by and Lou stops him …) LOU: Hey, Abbott! I just saw a lady ...

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Thanks to the measles outbreak, the news is full of stories on vaccines and anti-vaxxers. The blogosphere and Twitterverse and all the other social media dimensions are buzzing with invective against ignorant unvaccinated savages and their backward science denial. For the record, I’m a pro-vaccine physician. My children have been and are vaccinated, despite being unsocialized homeschoolers. I’ve had my own share of needles; Physicians are mandated to have hepatitis B, ...

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It happens every once in a while in my practice: Parents ask if we can delay or skip certain vaccines, or spread them out. According to a study just published in the journal Pediatrics, I'm not alone -- in fact, 93 percent of pediatricians get asked the same thing. Now, it's important to point out that most families don't ask for this. Most families are fine with the current vaccine schedule -- ...

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Termites are endemic in southern California, and we’ve had spot treatments several times over the years at various sites in our house where little piles of sawdust have appeared as evidence of termite activity. Finally, it became clear that the termites were winning, and more aggressive treatment was in order: tenting. This is the process of hoisting a big, brightly-colored tent over the whole house and putting an end to ...

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You’ve likely seen the Jimmy Kimmel “public service announcement” on vaccines. Over 3 1/2 million people have viewed it on Youtube so if you’re not yet one of them you’ll likely add to the tally now. The first 3 minutes of the monologue are spot-on, and they’re also very funny. Jimmy takes a stand against the “anti-vaxxers.” He mentions that some parents are more scared of “gluten than small pox” ...

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“What would Spock think about the ‘husky’ designation?” That’s what I was pondering. I was wondering how the master of logic would justify and make sense of the clearly derogatory way I was feeling about myself. “Fascinating,” I imagined him saying, and he would raise that patented eyebrow. Then I looked in the mirror, furrowed my brow, took note of the barely present peach fuzz growing under my nose, and with all ...

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